Archive for category Benefit

Benefit’s Lollitint: Not just for kids!

The newest offering in their cheek tint franchise, Benefit’s Lollitint caught my eye right from the get-go.  When Radiant Orchid was announced as Pantone’s Color of the Year, I hopped aboard that train without looking back, and the Lollitint just seemed like the ubiquitous product, perfect for my newest color scheme.

Benefit Lollitint Benefit Lollitint

One caveat: I was SURE it wasn’t going to show up on my darker skin tone.  Something about the milky cool pink hue just seemed completely out of my realm and better suited for the more fair-skinned among us.  However, early in February, the girls behind the Beauty Envy Bag giveaways got together for a Google Chat, in which my girl Lola informed me that SHE had purchased Lollitint, and it showed up just fine on her gorgeous cocoa complexion. Um, SOLD.  I snapped it up the next week :)  And true to her word, it worked!

Benefit Lollitint swatch

Lollitint is a beautiful orchid hue that gives the skin a pretty flush, perfect for transitioning from chilly winter days to cool, sunny spring ones! It looks somewhat similar on the skin as NARS Desire, but due to the liquid formulation I find it a bit more natural – if you apply it right.  My first tries with this product were admittedly HUGE FAILS; dotting it on my cheeks directly with the brush and then blending it out with a duofiber brush (MAC’s #130 in this case) either looked non-existent, or gave me serious clown cheeks. Getting the right balance of product was extremely tough, and as it stains the skin quite quickly, a lot of blush would deposit on one main area of my cheek, looking HIGHLY unnatural.  After a few days of this, I was frustrated but determined to persevere.

I finally found the best way to apply the product: I would brush a few swipes of colour across the actual brush head itself, and then quickly blend it in on the cheek in the area I wanted it. This allowed me to diffuse the product around before it had those extra seconds to set, and gave me a truly natural looking pink glow. I’m not generally a fan of fussy products, but in this instance I’ll make an exception, because the finished product is kinda awesome!

Benefit Lollitint brown skin Benefit Lollitint brown skin

Yea, I’m a wee bit in love :)  This has been my most-worn blush since picking it up last month, and I see no end in sight at the moment! Once it’s on the cheek, the wear time is unreal – hands down my longest wearing blush EVER. It does wash off fine at the end of the day though, it you were worried about long-term staining. I haven’t worn it on the lips yet however, and I suspect it would probably be 1) an awesome base for pink lippies, and 2) will leave you with a pink pout even after cleansing. I find that lip staining products tend to always be more tenacious.

My love for Radiant Orchid continues! I have purchased shades for lips, cheeks and nails…I’m pretty much set :)

Have you tried the Benefit Cheek and Lip Tints before? What are your tricks for applying quickly setting products?

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All the Pretty Sparkles: Highlighter Review & Swatches

Highlighters (7)

I often find that my best posts are those that are made up on a whim.  Sometimes I’ll be trying something out for my own personal pleasure, and it leads to something else entirely.  Today I had one such moment; I was trying to figure out just how I could wear my NARS Laguna Multiple effectively, as its quite pretty but gets very little use.  I usually smear it on right from the tube and then blend the heck out of it with my fingers, applying it as a highlight on top of my cheekbones and around my brow bones.  Today I tried buffing it in with a stippling brush, which seemed to work exceptionally well.  Then I wondered how it looked in sunlight, and stepped out on my balcony in the sunshine, only to be blasted with some serious sparkle!  Eeks!  I can tell you right now that it is NOT the kind of product you want to wear outside in the sun (so, best used on cloudy days or at night), or at least if you DO wear it, use a very light hand.  Lesson learned (and thankfully before I made the faux pas in public)!

Highlighters

Of course, this got me thinking about other highlighters/glow-makers I own and how they fare in the bright sunshine.  Of course, being a dutiful blogger, I took photos so we all can benefit from my experiment :)  I chose four others that are all permanent products in their respective brands: Benefit Watt’s Up, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal, the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer, and Burberry Fresh Glow.  You’ve seen swatches of some of these before in my Chanel Poudre Signée post, but here they are again (give or take a couple):

Highlighter Swatches (2) Highlighter SwatchesLeft to right: NARS The Multiple in Laguna, Benefit Watt’s Up, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal, the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer, and Burberry Fresh Glow

First let me preface the following face swatches by saying that while I could plainly see the sparkle/shimmer in sunlight, it is incredibly hard to capture in photos!! SO frustrating.  With that in mind, please take my word for it whether or not something is visible or not, as it is tricky to see in the snaps I took ~grumbles~  Also, please note that all of these shots were taken on completely makeup-free skin (apologies for dark circles!), so there is no other potential shimmer interference (I cleansed my face thoroughly between each shot).

To begin, we have the Laguna Multiple I mentioned originally.  Very sparkly in sunlight, and I really would avoid wearing it outside – especially if you do not have my skintone (on me it’s more of a highlight), as it would then be deep bronze + super shimmer, and just wouldn’t be your best moment.  You’ll notice as you look through the other face pics that this one has the most noticeable shimmer, even in photographs.  BELIEVE IT.  However, it IS very pretty and I plan on using it on evenings out over this spring/summer.

NARS The Multiple in Laguna NARS The Multiple in Laguna (3)

Next, we have Benefit’s Watt’s Up luminizer – I only have a sample size of this but honestly that is enough, as a little goes a long way.  I want to say it’s my least favorite of the five, but today changed my mind a bit, as the initial BAM! sparkle of it seemed to settle after a couple minutes, and then it really just gave me this lovely radiance.  It’s still fairly shimmery, but not as much as the Laguna, and you could probably get away with it in the day if you went very minimal on shimmer elsewhere.  Also, I’d probably layer my blush OVER this rather than under (which you’d likely do anyway if you chose powder, as this is a cream, and that’d just get weird), which would tone it down a little bit too.  It took me AGES to get photos of this and I’m still not satisfied, so trust me when I say there IS visible shimmer (look for little particle-like things on my face – those are them :P).

Benefit Watt's Up (7) Benefit Watt's Up (6)

Moving right along, next is the insanely popular Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, in the shade Opal.  I snagged this deluxe sample in a swap about a month ago and I LOVE IT SO MUCH YOU GUYS.  I’m not going to go on a big ‘You have to buy this!’ rant, because everyone else has done such a good job – so just go buy it already!  This product comes very close to the ‘might be too shimmery for day’ line but manages to toe it exceptionally well, so you can totally rock it out all summer long.  I adore the glow this gives and because the shimmer particles are so small, they don’t look tacky at all, just nicely done.  I will continue to wear this now that the sun is out, day or night.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (5)

Continuing on, we come to the Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer.  Next to Laguna this one is the most shimmery, and is also the only powder in the bunch.  This was one of my first highlighters (and again, its a small sample size compared to the real deal) and I tended to wear it more in the corners of my eyes than anywhere else.  Now, I wear it both ways (on my cheekbones too) but generally keep it to nighttime, as the shimmer combined with the lighter tone and powder formula can make it more obvious than I’d like.  Still, the powder is butter-smooth and is nice to have on hand now and again!

the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer (6)This second shot is kind of bizarro for sure, but it highlighted the shimmers so well I had to include it >_<

Finally, we have the most natural of the bunch, and my personal preference for a foolproof glow – Burberry’s Fresh Glow Luminizing Base.  If you recall, I bought this last year as a birthday treat for myself (which I think I might do every year – buy Burberry makeup, I mean!) and was unsure if it was genius or useless.  Well, consider me converted because this give the most subtle yet glowing look of the bunch.  It can be worn a multitude of ways: on bare skin, under foundation, over foundation, mixed in with foundation, etc. – but I prefer to use either on a bare face to just give me a pick me up if I’m going super low-key, or on top of foundation on the high points of the face.  Even though there is shimmer, somehow there is no shimmer - like Houdini or something.  I haven’t quite figured it out, but I will say that looking at it worn in full sunshine today for the first time, I was totally amazed – I looked utterly radiant but like I had absolutely nothing on.  Kind of like how you look when you put on a face oil, and you look glowing, but without the adding ‘shine’ factor.  Good times.  Dammit Burberry, why is everything you do SO DAMN EXPENSIVE GOOD?

Burberry Fresh Glow Burberry Fresh Glow (2)

Thus concludes my research – I hope you found it helpful!  I know it’s tough to see the nuances between shots but I think the gist is there in terms of comparing the five.  As always, this kind of post is helpful for me too, so yay for killing two birds with one stone!

Highlighters (6)

Do you wear a highlighter?  What formula/finish do you prefer?  Which of these ones would you choose?

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Beat the Winter Blues – Enter to Win Our Winter Edition Beauty Envy Bag!!

Winter Edition Beauty Envy Bag
We’re back with the Winter Edition of the Beauty Envy Bag! We’ve handpicked several of our beauty
favorites that will help you make it through this winter season with some new goodies. The bag consists
of all full-sized products to help meet your beauty needs. For those of you who may be new to our blogs,
here’s a quick introduction.

Lakeisha is a nail polish blogger from Florida. She is obsessed with polish, fashion, and merging the two together. She is the blogger behind Refined and Polished.

Latoya is a beauty blogger from the East Coast of Canada. While she loves all things girly, she’s also a closet gamer and is a die-hard Walking Dead fan. She is the blogger behind Beauty Obsessed.

Leticia is a beauty blogger from the Pacific Northwest.  She is a dog lover, sci fi nerd, handbag collector, and makeup junkie. She is the blogger behind Cosmetics Aficionado.

Lola is a Midwest blogger with a passion for polish, science, and music. She is the blogger behind Burb Beauty.

The Winter Edition of the Beauty Envy Bag contains:

Please feel free to click the links above to learn more about each product. Accompanying all of the items
is a purple metallic beauty bag from Sephora and additional samples will be included as well.

Here is what you need to know to enter in the Rafflecopter widget below:

  • Must leave a blog comment (just one blog, doesn’t have to be all four) letting us know your
    favorite winter beauty product.
  • Additional entries for following each blog on social media networks (Facebook, Twitter,
    Instagram)
  • Open internationally
  • Must be 18+
  • Giveaway closes on Monday, January 28, 2012 at 11:59 EST

Good luck dolls!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Playing Where’s Waldo with My Makeup Collection

I spent two hours – TWO HOURS! – last night, researching what products and shades I should to order from Becca Cosmetics (a brand I’ve yet to try and desperately want to).  My (totally logical – I swear!) reason for doing this?  To avoid purchasing any shades that were similar to ones I already own.  I DID come up with a (very) pared down list, you’ll be happy to hear; if you’re interested (and FYI – the blog Shades of BECCA is a good resource for some swatches):

Papaya Beach Tint $30CAD (hot red)

Becca Papaya Beach Tint

Fallen Angel Ultimate Color Gloss $29CAD (nude spice)

Becca Fallen Angel gloss

There were a handful of other products I liked the look of, but in checking out swatches, they seemed to be too close to items I already own (though, c’mon, the brand is gorgeous and I could have easily gone for one of everything!).  Which brings me to the point.

You’re all familiar with my organizational obsession right? (and…if you’re new and not aware: Hello!  My name is Latoya and YES, I have a problem which manifests itself into a bit of compulsive organization.  Could be worse!)  Anyway, another problem I have is lack of funds; when you own a home on your own and don’t make the big bucks, things can get tricky.  However, I have ANOTHER problem (jeez, someone institutionalize me, will ya?), which is that I love shopping – for cosmetics in particular.  Smash the three of these together and what do you get?  Well…you get THIS:

Blush Collection (2)My poor broken MAC blush up on the right :(

What ‘THIS’ is, is me taking a good look at an area of my makeup collection – specifically blush/bronzers in this instance – and seeing where I have gaps.  By gaps, I mean: what shades do I lack that I can justify buying, in order to round out my stash and also quell the burning desire to shop my face off.  Ya dig?  This fantabulous idea kills three birds three mosquitoes (no one cares about those) with one big-ass swat.   I get to organize something*, figure out what shades or products I’m missing, and rationally and systematically purchase new items that are on my wishlist and fit the ‘missing’ bill.  BOOM!

*Seriously guys, I joke but….I really like organizing things.  So much so, that near the end of the month I’m signing up for a Professional Organizers intro course to see if I’d like to become a professional organizer for realz.  It’s THAT serious :S

So, as you can see, I’m starting with blush – because clearly blush is THE BEST EVER and deserves the number one spot for allowing EVEN MORE BLUSH.  Because clearly 20 (+ 7 bronzer-type things and 2 mini-blush) are NOT ENOUGH.

(I swear I’m not on the sauce tonight guys – I just feel a little peppy ’cause I’m back into running and signed up for the Ottawa 1/2 Marathon in May…wooo! :D)

Berry & Orange blush swatchesLeft to right (flash): Rouge Bunny Rouge Florita, NARS Turkish Red, Illamasqua Tweak; NARS Taj Mahal, Make Up For Ever Blush Powder #25, Illamasqua Lover, Make Up For Ever HD Blush #12 First Kiss

Plums and RussetsLeft to right (flash): NARS Sin, Bobbi Brown Velvet Plum (discontinued shade); MAC Raizin, CoverFX Bronzed FX in Garnet, Burberry Russet, MAC Early Morning

Even with 20+ blush, I can plainly see what shades I’m lacking: A bright red! (NARS Turkish Red is more of a burgundy)  A true orange! (NARS Taj Mahal is kind of a burnt orange and quite shimmery)  A neutral pink! (…I literally do not own one beige-y pink blush, for shame)   A nice deep berry would be lovely!  And also – varying formulations!  I have NO cheek tints, and only four cream blush.  You see, there actually ARE shades/formulas I do not have despite having far more blush than is probably necessary.  And then, there are shades I need NO more of, like medium pinks…I have enough of those, yep.  I don’t think I need any more bronzers, especially since I rarely wear them and I’m already kinda *ahem* bronze.  I only really have a couple coral shades, which tends to be the one a lot of people go gaga for (myself included), but I’ll hold off till the warmer months on thinking about those right now.  Same goes for apricot-hued shades.

Pink and Coral blush swatchesLeft to right (flash): NARS Desire, Illamasqua Unrequited (discontinued shade*), theBalm Down Boy, Chanel Blush Horizon de Chanel, Benefit Bella Bamba, Illamasqua Hussy, Bobbi Brown Calypso Coral, NARS Torrid, theBalm Hot Mama

Bronzer swatchesLeft to right (flash): NARS Laguna Illuminator, Too Faced Sun Bunny Bronzing Powder, NARS Laguna Multiple, MAC Refined Golden Bronzing Powder, Milani Sunset Duos in Sunset Beach, Clinique Bronze Uplighting, Estee Lauder Illuminating Gelee in Shimmering Sands

What I’m wondering is, what gaps do YOU see?  Since I only have my stash to compare it to, I can’t get a good idea of what I’m missing.  What shades can you suggest that I should focus on buying?

Blush Collection

I’m planning on doing this little experiment with all my makeup over the next little while, so be prepared: more lame examples of my organizational obsession coming your way!  But do come back anyway, because I need your help :)

Is your makeup collection where you want it to be, or do you have a few gaps you’d like to fill?

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Indulging My Inner Consumer with Benefit’s High Flyin’ Glosses Collection

Back in November, having missed out on buying cosmetics for so long, I did damage control by picking up Benefit’s High Flyin’ Glosses set, a collection of six mini Ultra Plush lipglosses that gave me a good bang for my buck ($28CAD for a $52CAD value) and a fistful of new shades to get me back into the game in a (semi) big way.  Since I’ve been terribly delinquent in filling you in on these glosses, I’ve had lots of time to review them in full and can give a fairly clear picture of the product. Let’s begin, shall we?

Benefit High Flyin' Glosses Set
Each of the glosses in the set are 6.5mL (full-size are 15mL), and the colors correspond with each one of Benefit’s boxed blushes/bronzers (except Hervana): CORALista, Bella Bamba, Sugarbomb, Dandelion, Dallas, and Hoola.

Benefit High Flyin' Glosses Set SwatchesLeft to right (sunlight): Sugarbomb, Dandelion, Hoola, Dallas, CORALista, Bella Bamba

These first three glosses have shimmer and give a nice sparkle to the lips:

Sugarbomb is a cool-toned mauvey-pink with shimmer – it has the most shimmer of all six glosses. The gloss is sheer in pigment and merely lightens my lips very slightly and adds a very wearable sparkle.

Benefit Sugarbomb (2) Benefit Sugarbomb

Dandelion is a pale pink shimmered gloss that looks very similar to Sugarbomb on the lips, but with less shimmer.  It is also quite sheer and very natural-looking except for a slight pearlized effect.

Benefit Dandelion (2) Benefit Dandelion

Hoola is a sheer golden bronze shade with a hint of shimmer and nearly translucent on the lips.  Strangely, this shade is one of my favorite shades of the collection!

Benefit Hoola (2) Benefit Hoola

The second group of glosses do not have any shimmer:

Dallas is a rosy nude shade that has the most opacity of all six colors.  It can be a bit tricky to apply evenly and I found it collected a bit in spots if I didn’t apply it carefully.

Benefit Dallas (2) Benefit Dallas

CORALista is, as the name implies, a coral shade that leans more orange than pink.  It’s quite sheer and imparts only a hint of color to the lips – which should make the hue very wearable for all skintones.

Benefit CORALista Benefit Coralista

Bella Bamba is a deep pink gloss that doesn’t lean warm nor cool.  It is also very sheer once applied and while it does give the lips some color, it is subtle.  Someone with less pigmented lips may get a more noticeable effect that myself (my lips are of medium pigment).

Benefit Bella BambaBenefit Bella Bamba

Overall, I quite like these glosses – all are wearable across skintones, and feel nicely hydrating on the lips.  I also like the fact that the shine isn’t glass-like, which is a turn off for me – it’s somewhat more subtle and therefore great for someone who doesn’t generally like glosses, or who usually prefers lipstick.  They do have a fair bit of slip so they only get a few hours of wear at most, but I don’t mind.  As they don’t give a vast amount of difference in tone when worn, I wouldn’t suggest picking up each shade on their own – my recommendations would be to choose either Sugarbomb OR Dandelion, Hoola, Dallas, and CORALista OR Bella Bamba depending on your preference in color. However, owning the set of these minis is ideal as they are fun and terribly easy to carry around with you day or night.

Benefit High Flyin' Glosses Set (3)
Though the High Flyin’ Glosses set is no longer available, you can get the full-sized glosses for $18CAD, OR opt for one of their great kits that contain mini sizes of the gloss and their corresponding powder blush, along with a cheek tint and one of their highlighters in complimentary tones (available for Dandelion, CORALista, and Sugarbomb, for $32CAD at Sephora).

OR stay tuned for a possible li’l surprize coming later this month :)

Did you pick up this set, or any of the Benefit Ultra Plush glosses?  Are you a gloss wearer or all about lipstick?

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Upcoming on Beauty Obsessed…

So it’s been a week since I’ve been returned from my New Zealand adventure, and I’m slowly (verrrrrry slowly) getting back into the swing of things.  It’s quite an adjustment to go from an action-packed-always-on-the-go-surrounded-by-people-partying-every-night atmosphere, to being…back to work, home alone, same-old same-old.  I’m not knocking my life by any means – I’ve got a warm, cozy condo; a good (though perhaps boring) job; and great friends – but it’s still quite a change to get re-established into.  And I’m someone who really likes to have things to look forward to (which is why I’m planning my next adventure!).

When I googled this country, I noticed it ALSO has a lot of sheep…guess it’s my thing ;)  *Hint hint* 

ANYWAY.  Enough whining, and on with the show, right?  Right.  Tonight, I opted get a bunch of ‘To Do’s’ done and make bread (because what’s more comforting than baking bread!?), but I want to show you what you can expect to see on the blog in the next week or two.  I happily came home to a few surprise packages that had been sent my way, so despite the fact that I haven’t been buying much in the way of exciting cosmetics in the past couple months (though…I did pick up an eyeshadow this weekend ~guilty face~), I do have several holiday sets – four to be exact – to fill you in on!

Illamasqua Lip Twin Set*

Intense Lipgloss in Plentiful & Lipstick in Obey

Hourglass Best of Hourglass Collection*

(Top to Bottom): Veil Mineral Primer, Film Noir Full Spectrum Mascara, Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss in Ignite, No. 28 Primer Serum

Make Up For Ever All Eyes On You Set*

(Clockwise from left): HD High Definition Powder, Aqua Cream Waterproof Cream Color in #16 (Pink Beige), Smoky Lash Extra Black Mascara, Aqua Eyes Waterproof Eyeliner Pencils in 21L (dark grey) and 0L (mat black)

Benefit High Flyin’ Glosses Lip Gloss Set

(Clockwise from top left): Coralista, Dallas, Bella Bamba, Dandelion, Sugarbomb, Hoola

I think that’s a pretty good start to the holidays, don’t you?  I will tell you now, I am absolutely IN LOVE with the Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum – it makes my skin look amazing on it’s own, improves it’s texture, doesn’t cause ANY breakouts or irritation (even on my normal-to-oily skin), and my makeup wears better and smoother with it on (though I will say, it doesn’t make it last all day long).  I’m definitely buying a full-size when money isn’t so tight!

So – keep your eyes peeled!  I spent the morning Sunday taking photos of everything, though I have to redo my lipgloss swatches as I had a bit of unnoticed flaking going on – yikes!  I don’t want to scare you away just when I’ve gotten back! :)  Also…..one (or even two!) of these sets just *might* be part of a giveaway coming soon to a blog near you – just sayin’.

What’s on everyone’s wish list for the holiday season, cosmetics-wise?  Anything you’ve already picked up and are loving?
*Products marked with an * were provided to me for consideration of review by the PR company/brand.

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Something to Amuse You While I’m Gone: My Blush Collection (Part I!)

Since it’s a well-known fact that blush addiction is 1) contagious, and 2) that it spreads quickly, I thought I’d leave you with a little *something* while I’m away this week – my gift to you :P  It’s truly scary how quickly one can go from owning a handful of blush to moving into double-digits in an alarmingly quick fashion.  At the beginning of the year, I think I had 8 (plus a handful of highlighters and bronzers, so around 14 total), and in three short months I have pretty much doubled that number – yikes!!  I was so easy to judge when it was someone else, but I see how quickly things can go downhill.  It’s a fun ride slippery slope, but gosh are there ever some beautiful shades out there!  It’s so easy to fall prey to their powers.

The first installment in what will be a week-long series, are my pink and peach/coral shades.  It blows me away how some of these looks so similar in the pan, yet look nothing alike when swatched/worn.  I played around with the groupings a bit, but am fairly satisfied in how I divided them in the end.  Let’s begin with the pink blushes:

Clockwise from top left: Benefit Bella Bamba, Chanel Blush de Horizon, MAC Madly Magenta, theBalm Down Boy

MAC’s Madly Magenta, a matte cream, is really too violet for this grouping, but it’s the only one of it’s kind in my stash, so it’s joining the team.  I bought it well over a year ago, but the other three were bought or acquired over the past four months. Benefit Bella Bamba is a shimmering ‘watermelon pink’; Chanel’s Blush de Horizon is a shimmering cool-ish pink, and theBalm’s Down Boy is a matte baby pink.

All swatches taken with flash.  Left to right: Benefit Bella Bamba, Chanel Blush de Horizon, theBalm Down Boy, MAC Madly Magenta

Over the past few months, I’m coming to realize that what looks like one thing in the pan might be something else entirely when worn.  I thought for sure that Down Boy would look chalky on me, but it doesn’t at all – it’s just a lovely subtle pink flush.  I was surprized and slightly disappointed to see how close Bella Bamba and Blush de Horizon was, though Bella Bamba does have more pink pigmentation.  I’m still working on MAC’s Madly Magenta…maybe when I’m more tanned I’ll figure it out.

Next up, we have my peach/coral shades – my favorite color of blush.  I find myself always looking at these when I’m shopping, but so far I’ve been able to stop myself from buying more, until I can confidently say it’s a color I do not own.

From top left: NARS Torrid, Illamasqua Tweak, theBalm Hot Mama, Make Up For Ever #12 First Kiss

I know that Illamaqua’s Tweak (described as a deep hot pink) looks far too pinky to be here, but it’s too warm to be included with the ‘pinks’ group, and again it was one of a kind, so here it is. It actually wasn’t so far off from NARS Torrid, a ‘warm coral’ with shimmer, so it seemed to fit.  MUFE’s First Kiss HD Blush is a bright apricot (which is the only recent *purchase* out of this group), and theBalm’s Hot Mama is a pinky-peach with shimmer.

All swatches taken with flash.  From left to right: theBalm Hot Mama, MUFE #12 First Kiss, NARS Torrid, Illamasqua Tweak

It still blows me away every time how light Hot Mama is, when it looks so similar in the pan to Torrid.  Also, comparing Torrid in the pan to Benefit’s Bella Bamba, they look so close, and yet Torrid swatched/worn is SO much deeper than it looks – it’s shocking.  I was also surprized at how much more orange-leaning MUFE’s  #12 First Kiss looks when compared to other shades – when I bought it I thought I might have repeated something else in my stash.  I’m please to know that I didn’t :)

As a bonus shot, here’s what Illamasqua Tweak looks like when worn (on me):

Sunlight

Artificial light

In these shots, it looks like it should be with the pink family, doesn’t it? :P

So, there you have it – Part I of my ever-expanding blush collection!  I hope you enjoyed it – stay tuned tomorrow for Part II!! :)

Do you own any of these shades?  Were any swatches surprizing to you too?  What is your favorite blush shade?

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It’s Over For Another Year…Lent 2012 Conclusion and Considerations

Well another year has passed, and that means another Lent and a challenge to embark on.  Six weeks ago, I revealed my plan to you for this year’s Lent, which was MUCH tamer than last year (giving up buying cosmetics cold turkey – gah!  What was I thinking!?):

1) Write a blog post every single day, with the exception of Sundays
2) Wear every single makeup item in my stash at least once
3) Post regular FOTD pictures with the evidence

It was a pretty easy year, I have to say, which is why you didn’t get many updates from me as the weeks passed. I started strong with the FOTD pics (though failed at making them look good!), but as time wore on I found myself still mostly wearing the same old looks and products I always do.  It was an unsuccessful Lent in that respect, but not entirely a waste – I did learn a few lessons!First, I came to some conclusions about blogging and how I plan to proceed with writing posts.  While I almost always have a plethora of things I’d like to write about, near the end of the 6 weeks I found that I was feeling less enthused about blogging – working on a computer all day to come home to work for another few hours, every single day, started to get to me. Could have been year-end as well, but in order for me to maintain my blogging integrity and the quality of posts I want to produce, I think every second day or so is more reasonable for where I’m at right now. I really want to engage with more people, either our in the community making myself present, or through my own posts, and I’m barely finding the time to write a post, take good quality (as I’m able) photos, respond to comments, read others blogs and comment….it’s a lot of time and as I’m no night-owl…it gets pretty strained.  So while I tried and mostly succeeded to write every day, it’s just not feasible for me if I want to still enjoy blogging as much as I do.  I hope you all understand! :)

Second, and much more entertaining, I did experiment with makeup more than normal, working with shades that I had deemed unwearable and pairing them with different products to ‘figure them out.’  With the exception of a handful of shades, I’m pleased to say I did wear everything in my stash at least once.  I had some particular successes:

- Wore MUFE Aqua Liner #5 (an aqua), a bold shade I was hesitant to wear, on the top lash line with minimal other makeup, and actually ADORED how it looked – and how wearable it turned out to be!  A perfect look for Summer!

- Paired MAC’s Shimmermoss, another aqua shade, with MAC’s Petrol Blue liner (smudged at the lash line) to create a deeper, more intense teal shade which looked much better on my darker skin tone.

- Wore UD’s Kush (kelly green) from the BoSIII palette on Saint Paddy’s Day, along with Lise Watier’s Folie de Pomme loose shadow (golden green), and it looks absolutely amazing!

As to be expected, I also had some failures:

- I struggled to find ways to wear MAC’s Madly Magenta Cream Color Base, a deeply saturated violet pink (tried it on lips as well as cheeks, and I’m not too sure…*see below*).

- Several shades from the UD BoSIII palette continued to be completely unworn: Perversion (matte black), Uzi (glittering white), Midnight Cowboy Rides Again (glittering champagne), and Money (pale aqua-blue with a touch of glitter)…can you see a trend here?  The shades with glitter (hello, fall-out!) are just so tough to pull off!

- Still haven’t taken the time to figure out NARS Habanera…I feel like the lack of effort I’m putting into it might be indicative of it’s fate.

Overall, while there were some shades I discovered new uses for, or learned how to wear them properly, there were also shades that just aren’t going to and won’t work for me.  A lot of the more cool-toned, blue-based shades I own I think will have to go – I just don’t feel comfortable wearing them.  The UD palette also is a bit of a thorn in my side, because while half the shades I love, the other half are essentially useless to me.  It’s a bit frustrating!  However, there are still some items that are a work in progress, and I’m going to continue to investigate whether or not I should hang on to them, such as Tarte’s Blushing Bride Cheek Stain (I think I’m too dark to make this work, as it’s quite sheer); Smashbox On Trend Cream Eye Liner, a deep khaki (I’m bringing it to Jamaica to try smudging it out a ton, as that feels like the just right look for the trip); and Clinique’s Salt & Pepper Lid Smoothie (a shimmering silver-grey that would be a great base for certain looks).

Lastly, I did improve my photography skills a bit when it comes to taking FOTD’s, though I still have a LONG way to go!!  Here are a couple looks I shot over the last few weeks:

Wearing: Lise Watier Folie de Pomme loose shadow, theBalm Down Boy blush, MAC Madly Magenta CCB on lips

Wearing: MUFE #2 Yellow Eyeshadow, MUFE #0L Aqua Eyes, Benefit Bella Bamba blush, and MUFE S4 Star Gloss

So.  While Lent this year wasn’t much of a big hoopla as it has always been for me in years past, nonetheless I still took something away from the experience, and it wasn’t for naught!  I plan to continue to go through my stash regularly to weed out products that just aren’t right for me and could use a better home, and I’m definitely going to keep trying to experiment – with both products and photos.  Blogging as a whole is a constant learning experience for me, and one that I relish and take great pleasure in.  There will never be a shortage of things to discover and write about!

Oh, one last thing before I go – here was my Easter mani for the week:

Wearing (thumb to pinky): Zoya Cho, MAC Mischievous Mint, China Glaze Sea Spray, Zoya Marley, RBL Poco a Poco

(Tee hee!!)  Happy Easter/Long Weekend everyone!! :D

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FOTD Trial and Errors!

Happy Hump Day everyone!!  Heyyy, February is pretty much over – doesn’t that make you feel like Spring is REALLY on it’s way?  Even though it doesn’t officially start for another three weeks or so, I always feel like March marks the end of Winter and the beginning of good (re: warm) things :)

For the past week, since Lent began, I have been steadfastly putting in an effort to take FOTD shots of my makeup looks every day, but unfortunately for all of us – I have been failing spectacularly.  I just can’t seem to get it right, and it’s frustrating me to no end.  However, fortunately for everyone, I don’t give up easy, and I am going to keep on trying until I am successful!  Embarrassingly, here are some of the shots I’ve taken over the past week:

MUFE Aqua Liner #14 with the purple shade of NARS Habarnera in the crease and along the lower lash line.  I swear in person the shadow was actually noticeable, more than just the hint of shimmer showing here!

This was my getaway look this past weekend – Urban Decay’s Bourbon liner on the upper and lower lashes, Benefit’s Bella Bamba on cheeks, and MUFE’s Star Collection Lab Shine in S4.

I snuck this photo at work while in fear of someone finding me taking pictures of myself lol – I’m wearing Urban Decay’s Bordello eyeshadow (from the BoSIII palette), with UD’s Smog in the crease, theBalm Down Boy blush, and MUFE Lab Shine S4 again.

Tonight, I managed to get a couple shots I was fairly happy with, though I still wish I could get close-ups of eye makeup so that you can see what I’ve done.  But – beggers can’t be chosers, I guess!  Below, I’m not wearing too much – just a touch of the pale shade of Hourglass’ Exhibition shadow duo on the lid, UD’s Crash liner, Benefit’s Bella Bamba on cheeks, and the star of the look – Chanel’s Rouge Allure Laque in Empire.My goal with all of these FOTD shots are to showcase the products that I haven’t been giving enough love to, and figuring out how to make them work on a regular basis.  Chanel’s Empire perplexed me from the start – it was such a gorgeous shade, but I just didn’t see it working on my skintone.  However, now that I’m easing into wearing pretty Spring hues, I find this lippie works PERFECTLY.  It’s just not a Fall/Winter shade on me, AT ALL.  Now that I’ve figured that out, I’m gonna have some serious fun with this color!!  It’s absolutely perfect for pretty much any Spring look I’ll be wearing.

What makes me cringe chuckle when I go back through these pictures, is that my makeup looks almost identical in each – this is one of the frustrating parts, because each look was different, honest!  ~sigh~  Anyway, as I said, I’m going to continue to press on, and *one day* I’ll get it.  At the very least, I’m having a great time wearing different products every day and giving all the neglected items I own a little attention.  Talk about shopping your own stash! :D

Have you rediscovered a product that you weren’t sure about, only to find that you’ve changed your mind and have now fallen in love?

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A Blush Smackdown: NARS Torrid vs Benefit Bella Bamba vs theBalm Hot Mama

It’s interesting how you develop ‘cliques’ even in the online world.  From my experience so far, they’re much more open and welcoming than the same cliques you might find in the ‘real world,’ but they’re there, just the same.  In the group I seem to be running with, blush is the current obsession of choice (which, it seems to me, started with blush fiend numero uno, Tracy :)).  The love of blush seems to be spreading like wildfire over the past few months, and it doesn’t take long before you’re swept up in the mania, too.  A year ago, blush was probably the last makeup item I desired – while I absolutely must wear it, as I have no natural flush to speak of, it just never interested me that much.  Flash-forward to current day, and I suddenly am having to hold myself back from buying every brand of blush I come across.  It’s madness I tell you, madness!

…ANYWAY…

As I intensely dislike having dupes in my stash, but very much like shopping for makeup, I went through my blush collection to see what shades I should/could pick up ~if I so desired~.  I noticed that I seemed to have a number of pinky-peach shades, and of course my blogger-brain started working and I thought I’d do a little comparison of them.  The shades (and their official descriptions) are: NARS Torrid – a warm coral with golden shimmer;  theBalm Hot Mama* – a pinky peach; and Benefit Bella Bamba – a watermelon pink with shimmering golden undertones. Mainly I was interested to see how Hot Mama and Bella Bamba compared to Torrid, the mother of all pinky-peach shades.  Naturally, I had to swatch each of them to see just how similar they were.

I’m going to forgo much chatter here because this is about to get ridiculously picture heavy (I was bored a couple weeks ago and this is what happened).  I’ll discuss the nuances of each shade in between briefly:

NARS Torrid vs theBalm Hot Mama

Indoor light

Natural light

Sunlight

In all lighting, Torrid and Hot Mama look quite similar but not identical.  However, the difference in the two shades is much more prominent once swatched:

(Torrid on left, Hot Mama on right) Indoor Light

(Torrid on left, Hot Mama on right) Sunlight

The sunlight photo is a bit blurry, but I wanted to capture not only the shade difference but the shimmer capacity of each – Torrid has much more prominent shimmer particles, while Hot Mama is more of a shimmer product overall (I would probably use this as a highlight in the summer due to my darker skintone).

I couldn’t get over how different the two were – two totally, completely different shades!  It taught me a lesson though – always swatch before you buy.  Sometimes I’ve passed things up thinking they wouldn’t work for my skintone, other times I’ve bought items thinking they’d show up and they turn out to be rubbish (for me).  Good to know.

Next, we have Torrid vs Bella Bamba.  I didn’t expect them to be too close because Bella Bamba is a fair bit pinker, but in the same family with the golden shimmer:

Benefit Bella Bamba vs NARS Torrid

Indoor light

Natural light

Sunlight

The difference between Bella Bamba and Torrid was the most apparent in sunlight; in the other two shots, it was a bit trickier to spot.  Even so, I still felt like when these were applied, they’d look similar when blended out, because they appeared to be close in pigmentation even if the shades weren’t identical:

(Torrid on left, Bella Bamba on right) Indoor light

(Torrid on left, Bella Bamba on right) Sunlight

Errr!  Wrong again.  Bella Bamba is so obviously lighter and vastly more pink than Torrid, I almost felt silly bothering to compare them at all.  They’re shimmery – that’s where the similarities end.  And again, Torrid contains shimmer particles in a matte base, whereas Bella Bamba is shimmery as a whole.  So…nope, no dupes there.

Regardless of the fact that I seem to be color-blind, I’m still happy I did the comparison, as it justified my ownership of each shade, and actually made me better aware of what look each imparts.  It also highlighted the fact of just how crazy-pigmented NARS blushes are; during the summer months, while Bella Bamba and Hot Mama will be stashed in the back of my drawer (there’s no way they’ll be showing up on my tanned skin), Torrid remains a prominent player in my blush rotation.  That’s not to say it’s better, just that it is a great addition and value in my collection as I can wear it year-round.

Do you own any of these blushes?  Do you ever buy replicas of shades, or do you try to get colors that you don’t already own?

*Thanks to Liz of Beauty Reductionista for generously giving me the Balmbini Palette: Babies of the Balm, which contains the Hot Mama shade – you rock!!

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